Another week, another Carnival of Space. It’s an interesting time for Urban Astronomer, what with weather interfering with our plans at helping out with an international amateur collaboration to measure the distances to asteroids and the announcement date for our next big secret project looming (it’s a podcast. Launching next year, in February. Don’t tell anybody! Shh!). We’re so busy, but not producing any visible results. But soon the new year will roll around, the weather will change, our funding situation will have improved, and we can begin to start taking this public astronomy engagement game seriously!
Meanwhile, there’s a Carnival to host, so let’s get started.
- ‘Global Warming Hiatus’ Not Good News For Planet Earth
- The Fire In Orbit This Time… Again
- How Do We Colonize Jupiter’s Moons?
The Evolving Planet
Next Big future
- DARPA is developing robotic support and maintenance of geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites with the Phoenix and GEO programsThe traditional process of designing, developing, building and deploying space systems is long, expensive and complex. These difficulties apply especially to the increasing number of expensive, mission-critical satellites launched every year into geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. Unlike objects in low Earth orbit (LEO), such as the Hubble Space Telescope, satellites in GEO are essentially unreachable with current technology.
DARPA’s Phoenix program seeks to change this paradigm and reduce the cost of space-based systems by developing and demonstrating new satellite assembly architectures and delivery systems. Phoenix is currently focusing on two primary technical areas of research
- Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2 billion next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8 billion in 2017.
- Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what’s in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes, researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have determined.Scientists examined part of Mars’ Utopia Planitia region, in the mid-northern latitudes, with the orbiter’s ground-penetrating Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument. Analyses of data from more than 600 overhead passes with the onboard radar instrument reveal a deposit more extensive in area than the state of New Mexico. The deposit ranges in thickness from about 260 feet (80 meters) to about 560 feet (170 meters), with a composition that’s 50 to 85 percent water ice, mixed with dust or larger rocky particles.
Chandra X-ray Telescope